The St. Louis Blues had some notable names missing as the pre-playoff camp opened. Fans don’t need to worry about it though.
The St. Louis Blues took one more step toward finishing their 2019-20 season. On July 13, in accordance with the league rules, the Blues began their larger squad practices.
Of course, rumors will swirl that those names were two of the four that tested positive. The team did not confirm that, and there is little reason to speculate given the math of the situation.
If four players supposedly tested positive and only two were missing, that means two players that tested positive were involved in the first day of camp. That does not mean Parayko and Bortuzzo were not part of that group, but it does not mean they were either.
While most fans, including myself, get tired of the NHL form of injury reports – upper body or lower body – this is one instance I am glad they will not report on. People don’t need to know who tested positive.
Additionally, neither player will be out long. “They’ll be back in short order,” general manager Doug Armstrong told the media, as reported by Tom Timmermann. “You’ll see them back on the ice sometime this week.”
Continuing the positive vibes, despite the absence of these two players to start camp, the Blues will not be missing anyone. According to Doug Armstrong, during his press conference, none of the Blues players have opted out of practicing prior to the playoffs or attempting to play once the season resumes.
"“Everyone in our group has indicated they want to play. During the whole Phase 2 or even prior to Phase 2, we’ve always let the players know their health and safety – of themselves and of their families – is at the forefront. They would have 100 percent of our support. They knew going in we (would) support whatever decision they made, and no one has come to ask us not to participate.” – Doug Armstrong, blues.nhl.com"
The Blues were fortunate in this aspect. They have a lot of young players who would be less receptive to the idea of not playing. They are also fortunate that the families of all their players are in good enough health to not cause any concerns.
Other players are not so lucky, with some players from other teams opting out due to prior health conditions with their children, spouses or other family members. Think what you want of the social constraints put on us by the government, but a decision based on actual facts of family health makes total sense. The Blues were just lucky enough to not have any player need to make that call.
So, it will be a full title defense by your St. Louis Blues. Eventually Bortuzzo and Parayko will return and then it will be all hands on deck for another run at the Stanley Cup.
2018 draftee Tyler Tucker was also invited to camp, so the Blues will have one more defenseman soon. Unfortunately, Scott Perunovich did not get invited due to the CBA rules about who was eligible.
At least we continue to push forward. It is strange having hockey to look forward to in August, but these are strange times we live in.